Note – there is an updated version of this recipe.
I decided to leave the original intact.
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup fresh green pepper, finely diced
1 pound ground turkey (use 85/15 or 93/7 mixtures. DO NOT use 100% breast meat)
2 T dried basil
1 T dried oregano
Pinch of Thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup white wine
1 28 oz can tomatoes, finely diced, with juice
1 28 oz can tomatoes, crushed
1 6 oz can tomato paste
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Heat two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over high heat in a large saucepot. I
prefer the taste of Spanish olive oils and Borges is my favorite. If you can’t find
Borges look for the Star brand which is made by the same company. Substitute your
favorite regular olive oil if desired.
2. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and onion. Saute for a few minutes until limp.
3. Add more olive oil to prevent sticking and add the ground turkey. Break up the
meat and brown. Add basil, oregano, and thyme and continue browning until the
herbs become aromatic. With the heat still on high, add the wine and cook until the
wine is almost completely evaporated.
4. Add the can of diced tomatoes with juice. Toss in the bay leaves, mushrooms, and
green pepper. Stir until well mixed and lower heat to medium. The sauce ingredients
should be bubbling mildly. Leave uncovered until the tomatoes release their juices
and the liquid in the pot is mostly evaporated. This step concentrates the flavors and
will take 15 to 20 minutes.
5. When the sauce becomes thickened, add the can of crushed tomatoes and the can
of tomato paste. Stir to incorporate well. Partially cover, turn the heat to low, and
simmer for a minimum of one hour.
6. Taste for seasonings and add more basil or oregano if desired. Salt and pepper if
you must but there is plenty of salt in the canned tomatoes. If the tomatoes are
highly acidic, add brown sugar a half teaspoonful at a time until the acidity is reduced
to your liking. A little bit of sugar will cut the acidity and add smoothness to the
7. Find some cooked pasta and plenty of grated cheese. Eat!
I used to make my meat sauce with ground beef. Somewhere along the way I started using ground turkey. You get a lighter sauce than a ragu made with beef. Try it. You’ll love this ragu.
Always have good quality canned tomatoes and paste in the pantry. A couple of cans of stewed tomatoes are also good to have on the shelf, especially if you open your fridge and find limp celery, one carrot, and no onions. If this sounds like your fridge, you might want to keep some dried onion flakes and garlic powder in the spice rack too.
Another Pantry Tip
San Marzano tomatoes make a big difference. The stuff from Italy is expensive so I’ve used San Marzano style organic from California. Over time I’ve come to appreciate the flavor boost you get from using dried versions of onion and garlic. I’m no longer a food snob who insists about everything fresh. It’s all about the flavor. Turkey Ragu 2 is the updated version of this ragu which incorporates some of these flavor boosting ingredients.